The Greatest Swim Of All Time? Reactions to Jason Lezak Relay Anchor

Jason Lezak

The Greatest Swim Of All Time? Reactions to Jason Lezak Anchor

The anchor leg by Jason Lezak to help the United States win gold in the 400 freestyle relay at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing is an iconic moment in the sport. When Lezak entered the water, he trailed France’s Alain Bernard by a significant margin, and reeling in the Frenchman looked to be an impossible task. But Lezak kept churning and as the swimmers came down the last lap, Lezak continually cut into Bernard’s lead, and ultimately won the race by .08.

Swimming World followers react to arguably one of the greatest races of all time. Here’s what they had to say on various social media platforms:

“I see you GM @jason.lezak” – @calicondors_isl

“It gives me chills every… single… time.” – Keith H.

“It’s Rowdy with the ‘there’s no doubt he’s tightening up’ for me.” – Kate R.

“13 years since and this race still makes me nervous and give me chills.” – Gunther C.

“Greatest relay ever. I can watch this again and again.” – Karre J.

“This is the race I show people when they’ve never ‘gotten’ swimming.” – Thor B.

“Goosebumps and tears of joy, every time!” – Myrna E.

“The greatest relay in the history of swimming. Never gets old.” – Larry B.

“I’ve always wondered where [Cullen] Jones was during the behind the blocks reaction photos immediately after the final touch. Only JUST noticed he had walked to the near side, & jumps in the air when he sees the finish order on the board. As if I didn’t love this race enough as it is.” – Shawn B.

“The roars that erupted from my house while we watched this. The neighborhood probably thought we all got raptured.” – Yohancy K.

“I still talk about this swim. Epic. I remember watching it as a teenager and by the end I was screaming and jumping and I threw the remote.” – Amy L.

“Bro imagine breaking the world record and only getting 5th.” – Sarah W. 

“Lezacked!” – Marcos

“Australia is in bronze territory rigHT NOW, BUT LEZAK IS CLOSING A LITTLE ON BERNARD! Can the vetran chase him down, and pull off a shocker here? WELL THERE’S NO SOUBT THAT HE’S TIGHTENING UP! BERNARD IS LOSING SOME GROUND! HERE COMES LEZAK! UNBELIEVEABLE AT THE END! HE’S DONE IT!” – Kevin D.


“Does Phelps buy Lezak dinner every time they see each other?? Obviously, Phelps is the GOAT, but could you imagine if he went 7 gold and 1 silver in 2008?” – William R. 

“This is simply ‘The Relay’. Anyone who knows, knows.” – Mike L.


How do you feel about this race 13 years later? Is it the greatest swimming moment of all time?!


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  1. avatar

    Magnificent performance. Epic. Unmatched in my book. Overtaking Bernard from so behind AND the fastest split in history!!?? Two others come close: Pablo 100fly gold in ‘92 & Hayes 800 relay anchor in ‘84. But as epic as those were, Lezak ‘08 is top.

    • avatar
      Leland Faust

      Don’t forget women’s 400 free relay beating the East Germans .

  2. avatar

    The relay takeoff is never mentioned as much as it should be. My numbers may not be exact, but the race was won by .08 and I think the difference in their relay takeoffs was something like .13. It’s worth taking some time to work on those. It is also fascinating to watch the swimmers respective stroke mechanics when seen from underwater. Bernard is definitely falling apart. Lezak swam a much better controlled first 50.

  3. avatar
    Bob Steele

    Pushing off behind Justin said, “I don’t know how I can beat him but I don’t want to be on another 400 Relay loss, so he took off to win! We were in Paris after the meet and I asked regular citizens if they knew of Jason Lezak and most said YES!

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